(Blogmensgo, gay blog of January 6, 2019) Nicole Kopaunik and Daniela Paier will go down in history as the
first second same-sex couple to marry in Austria. The registered partnership has existed since 2010, but it has not been very popular. The two women married on January 1st, 2019, just five minutes after the beginning of the year, because since that date, marriage and registered partnership have been open to all couples, regardless of their sex. Another lesbian couple had already been married on October 12, 2018, and all five couples who had filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court in Austria for the legalization of homosexual marriages were able to marry before the official start date because they had been exempted from the legal deadline for the banns.
Nicole and Daniela, both 37 years old, married after four years of engagement in Velden am Wörthersee in Southern Austria. Their wedding is immediately official and not only symbolic, because a decision of the Constitutional Court in December 2017 made it possible for same-sex couples to marry from 1 January 2019.
The mayor of Velden, Ferdinand Vouk, was personally involved in organizing the ceremony, as was the city’s casino, which can be seen on many of the official wedding photos. Velden is a town in Carinthia, but the bridal couple lives in Altenberg an der Rax, in the neighboring province of Styria. Why Velden instead of Altenberg? Because the Wörthersee region is a traditionally gay-friendly destination, as shown by the existence of the Pink Lake Festival over the last ten years.
Klaus Gottwald, the registrar who performed the wedding ceremony, admits that the official terminology still has to be adapted to marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
The ban on gay marriage was declared unconstitutional in Austria because the registered partnership offers couples almost no rights and advantages compared to married heterosexual couples. This is precisely why Nicole and Daniela did not want to enter into a registered partnership.
Daniela Paier finally feels like a family, because marriage is the ultimate family symbol. Nicole Kopaunik said that gay and lesbian couples now have a choice whether they want a registered partnership or marriage.
By the way, heterosexual couples now also have the same choice.
The governing parties (ÖVP and FPÖ) have declared that, while they reject gay marriage, they will respect the decision of the Constitutional Court.
Frank-S / MensGo